YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #16
SINGLES: Can’t Get It Out of My Head (#9), Boy Blue
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you’re an ELO lifer
LINEUP: Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy. Mike de Albuquerque left during the recording but was on a few tracks. Mike Edwards, Mik Kaminski, and Hugh McDowell were credited string players, but Lynne hired an orchestra, so good luck picking them out. Peter Forbes-Robinson did a voice over.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A concept album about a dreamer gave ELO its first true US hit.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After a few years of hits in the UK and being an album-rock artist in the US, ELO got its first US hit (and saw it’s UK chart fortunes disappear) in “Can’t Get It Out of My Head”, a nice slice of baroque pop with an orchestra.
The rest of the album was similar, with a shoulda been hit in “Boy Blue” and melodies and orchestrations on every song. It was a concept album, beginning and ending with an overture and a finale. Lynne’s devotion to Beatle melodies comes right to the front, as many cuts sound right from the back pages of Lennon / McCartney’s book of melodies backed by an orchestra. One track, “Mister Kingdom”, is close to an outright appropriation of “Across the Universe” in places.
The sound, with a full orchestra, is much improved, but the synthesizers of Richard Tandy seem obtrusive at times, with odd settings of buzzes and effects where a nice piano or organ setting would have been better. The overall sound makes this a much better listen for casual ELO fans who want to explore beyond the hits.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: de Albuquerque left during the sessions as he felt life on the road was taking away from his family time. Kelly Groucutt joined during the tour for the album and the classic ELO lineup was solidified. Also, the honest to goodness, the full album title is Eldorado: A Symphony by the Electric Light Orchestra.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with a long version of the “Eldorado” suite and tiny snippet of a song.
GRADE: B: On this album, ELO almost puts all of their elements together. Almost.